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A friend's kid was doing a fundraiser, and I now have two 3 lb tubs of cookie dough. It's frozen, which is great on one hand because it keeps for so much longer, but...when I want cookies, it's a bit of a hassle.

I don't really want to thaw the whole tub, as I don't need that many cookies at once. I thought about thawing it and then portioning it into cookie sized pieces and refreezing it, but I was concerned about possible illness and such, because, well, it's raw cookie dough.

If that's not an option, what's my best way to carve out just as much as I want of the frozen stuff? I tried a spoon and a fork, but that just left me with bent cutlery. My ice cream scoop didn't really work any better. I tried knives, but with how it is within the container (and so far I've not had a lot of luck getting it out to slice, either), I can't really get any purchase to slice through it.

  • So, I don't know that I should amend my answer, but it did occur to me that there really shouldn't be an issue thawing and refreezing the dough one time. My understanding is that most of the meat and other items that we buy "Fresh" and are advised to freeze or use quickly were actually frozen and thawed in the first place. If you bought the dough frozen, then a single thaw and refreeze should actually be pretty safe, considering that's fairly normal for scarier stuff like raw meat. (I am basing this off a thing I heard one time in a Food Wishes video. I think it involved lobsters.) – kitukwfyer Mar 29 at 0:05
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Thaw in refrigerator until soft enough to portion. Portion total batch, then re-freeze. Ideally, it should have been portioned before initial freeze. At this point, unless you want to bake them all, you will be fine with a refrigerated thaw, portion, and re-freeze. Store portioned, frozen, cookie dough with as little air in the container as possible.

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    I got the dough already frozen, so that wasn't an option. – Ash Mar 8 at 2:56
  • @Ash: It wasn't an option for you, but the people selling it could have portioned it in bags inside the tub, or separated with waxed-paper, or somehow not just a giant lump. I assumed that's what this answer was trying to say. (But the people doing the fundraiser either didn't think of this, or didn't think of a way to achieve it that wouldn't be too much work for a fundraiser. i.e. increase the amount of time they'd need to donate by too much.) – Peter Cordes Mar 10 at 14:54
  • @PeterCordes that makes sense, but unfortunately didn't happen for this! – Ash Mar 10 at 15:15
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You can dip a knife in hot water between each slice you cut. The hot knife will make it easier to cut the dough, without thawing it.

You can also do this with an ice cream scoop, but as dough is more dense than ice cream I doubt it will be efficient enough.

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I have no idea how many cookies a 3# tub of dough would make, but I'm so curious! My best suggestion is to thaw out 1 tub, bake all of the cookies and freeze them after they have cooled.

I freeze homemade cookies all the time! You can reach in and grab 1 or 2 to nibble on at a time. Most cookies almost seem better (to me) when they are frozen.

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    Fun fact - McDonald's cookies are frozen post-baking, then just warmed up in the oven. So this method works. – Jorgomli Mar 8 at 14:57
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If you decide to partially thaw (you shouldn't have to entirely thaw), you might want to consider making a cookie dough log. This is similar to what you can buy in the store (Nestle's Tollhouse cookies for example are available in most big US stores in the refrigerated section).

Basically, you shape the dough into a log-shaped roll that is the diameter of one cookie (pre-cooking), wrap it tightly, and then freeze. Then, when you go to make a cookie, you can typically cut it with a knife, one cookie at a time. You might slightly warm the knife, but it's common to be able to simply cut it even with a butter knife in my experience.

This assumes they are chocolate chip cookies or similar, where you can form them easily into a log, and the dough is fatty enough to be amenable to cutting when frozen.

You can read this page for more information and other options.

5

I have never needed to thaw or pre-portion frozen cookie dough. I just use a sharp-bladed knife or a sharp-edged scoop to slice thin layers of dough, which immediately thaw, and roll them up and bake them.

The scoop should have a thin, sharp edge, like a melon baller or disher, or if you have one, a meat scraper.

The key is to scrape up multiple thin layers of dough rather than trying to carve out large chunks. Thin layers will thaw extremely quickly, allowing you to work with the dough almost immediately.

If using a scoop, slowly scrape up a thin layer, allowing it to curl up as you scrape, rather than trying to scoop out a solid hunk of frozen dough.

If using a knife, you need a short, thin blade which will let you slice a thin layer from the surface of the dough.

This technique works well with other frozen foods as well, especially colloidals like butter or gravy.

  • As I mentioned in my post, that's not working for me – Ash Mar 8 at 16:54
  • @Ash did you actually try using a strong knife for slicing thin layers? Your post only speaks of trying to carve out pieces with spoons and scoops, which is a different technique. – rumtscho Mar 8 at 17:29
  • I tried my chef's knife and butter knives and just about every piece of cutlery I own. – Ash Mar 8 at 17:44
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    @Ash you did not mention that in your post until after I posted my answer. Your original post only mentioned trying spoons forks and an ice cream scoop. – barbecue Mar 8 at 19:24
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    @barbecue yeah, I realized that later - in my hasty desire to get cookies into my face, I didn't give as much detail as I should have. – Ash Mar 8 at 22:27
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You can also thaw it at room temperature, and within half an hour you should be able to slice off a few pieces with a sharp knife (and some patience.) and place the rest back in the freezer.

I'm not sure how easily you can tip the cookie dough out of the tub, or how evenly you can slice it. I actually like portioning cookie dough when it's semi-frozen like this since it's easy to weigh and shave a bit off of larger pieces here and there to get uniform cookies. The other benefit is my hands don't get nearly as covered in cookie dough.

This is something I usually do with Christmas cookies, and might appeal to you since it doesn't require fully thawing the dough, but please be careful. I don't know your strength or the sharpness of your knives, so while I've never had any trouble, I want to emphasize that patience is necessary. If the cookie dough is too hard to slice when you first try it, leave the knife in the dough and give it a few minutes. If you try to force it you could cut yourself or end up tossing a chunk of cookie dough onto the floor.

  • If I thaw it, is it safe to refreeze? I don't know the exact ingredients of these doughs offhand (and I am not home to look) but don't they usually contain eggs? I just don't want to risk illness. – Ash Mar 8 at 22:29
  • Honestly, I wouldn't worry about one thaw and refreeze. The main concern with thawing/refreezing for me is damaging the taste or texture of the final product, not safety, especially since you'll be baking the cookies anyway. That said I grew up licking the bowl of many, many cakes and cookies containing eggs, so I could be insensitive. Another thing worth mentioning is that a commercial cookie dough like that probably has enough sugar to retard bacterial growth at room temperature, and maybe even actual preservative ingredients. – kitukwfyer Mar 9 at 6:43
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An electric carving knife with a large serration will easily cut through frozen dough, vegetables and meat without the need to thaw or defrost, and without requiring you to whack at it with a cleaver or saw at it with a hot knife.

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  • +1 for suggesting a power tool! – moscafj Mar 8 at 16:07
  • @moscafj - I've had problems in the past trying to cut large blocks of frozen meat into meal sized portions. An electric knife made it super-easy. – Richard Mar 8 at 16:31
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    I wonder how this would work with the fact that it's in a plastic tub (and I haven't really been able to get it out in its frozen state). I don't own an electric knife, so I'm not sure. – Ash Mar 8 at 17:46
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    @Ash - Running a tap over the outside of the tub should be more than sufficient to be able to just turn it out onto a plate – Richard Mar 8 at 17:49
  • @Ash - I regularly cut tubs of ice-cream (albeit in paper tubs) into half. It's an easy way to be certain that the servings are equal. – Richard Mar 8 at 17:50

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